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MUSIC NEWS: Annie, Leona Lewis, Norah Jones, Janet Jackson, iLike, Adam Lambert

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GuestbloggerMODERN TONIC

The editors of Modern Tonic present a weekly music update here on Towleroad. The rest of the week, they scan the pop culture landscape for movie, TV, book and Web recommendations in their daily email.
 
RoadFEATURED NEW RELEASES AND FREE DOWNLOADS:

AnnieAfter her successful 2004 debut Anniemal, with its elastic hit "Chewing Gum," Norwegian pop star Annie signed to Island Records in 2007. In 2008, she released the single "I Know Ur Girlfriend Hates Me" as a precursor to her follow-up Don’t Stop. But when the song failed on the charts, she left the label and took the finished record with her. A year later, Don’t Stop finally sees the light of day (in a revised version that includes three new tracks replacing three that were dropped), and it’s such a pop high that it makes the suits at Island seem like fools for letting her go. From the cheery marching band drums of opener "Hey Annie" to the Caribbean flavored New Wave of the title track, it’s a one-way trip to pop nirvana. The punchy future single "My Love Is Better" — available as a free download here in a bottom-heavy dub version — may get more chart action than "I Know UR Girlfriend Hates Me" (available on the import-only Deluxe Edition), but even if it doesn’t it’s good to have our favorite Anniemal back on the prowl.
TR_FreeDownload
(Bonus free download: album track "I Don’t Like Your Band," a velvet-gloved bitch-slap to shallow divas).
TR_FreeDownload

LeonaWith Simon Cowell and Clive Davis’ combined muscle behind her, it was a foregone conclusion that 2006 X Factor winner Leona Lewis would be big. But who knew she’d be the first U.K. vocalist to chart a U.S. number one ("Bleeding Love") since 1987? Chart glory is once again in her future with her second release Echo. Opener and first single "Happy" rides its low-key "Nothing Compares 2 U" groove into a soaring chorus built for Lewis’ diva-grade pipes. And after that it’s one potential number one after the next, with highlights including "I Got You" (written by Max Martin, who penned Kelly Clarkson’s "Since U Been Gone"), the Justin Timberlake-produced "Don’t Let Me Down," and "Lost Then Found," an encore-worthy mid-tempo ballad written by Ryan Tedder and featuring his band OneRepublic, a cell-phone waving audience pleaser. Echo’s full of such moments, so if you see Lewis in concert, bring an extra cell-phone battery or two.

NorahWhen Norah Jones swept the pop landscape with Come Away With Me in 2002, her jazzy simplicity was an alternative to over-the-top divas who’d never met a musical scale they didn’t like. But her popularity brought out the grumblers. Some called her ‘Snore-ah Jones’; Nellie McKay even bitch-slapped her when she titled her own debut Get Away From Me. Yet Jones persevered, and 36 million album sales later she’s releasing her fourth album, The Fall. Jones opened up her sound here, playing with new musicians and enlisting the help of some well-respected collaborators like Ryan Adams and Okkervil River’s Will Sheff. She’s still a girl with her head clearly on her shoulders, but The Fall expands her sonic palette with the alt-country Adams co-write "Light As a Feather," the rumbling juke-joint-jive of "It’s Gonna Be," and the back-porch blues of "Man of the Hour." It’s adult and it’s contemporary, but we doubt you’ll be hearing it on Lite-FM.

RoadMUSIC NEWS:

RoadOprah's Music Club?: Oprah Winfrey's effect on book sales has long been apparent, but the music industry is taking note of her impact on album sales, even changing release dates to coincide with talent appearances on her show.

RoadIlikelogoorange_1 iDon'tLike: Facebook made an unpopular move last week by restricting features on iLike after the application was bought by MySpace. iLike is used by over 12 million people on Facebook, making it the site's #1 music app.

RoadMySpace is close to finishing a deal to buy rival music service imeem. Looks like Murdoch's company is fighting back against Facebook's massive success.

30692840-30692845-large RoadAdam Lambert on the making of his new album, For Your Entertainment, out next week. Plus, Rolling Stone "re-imagines" his album cover.

RoadAn argument for Britney Spears' right to lip-synch in concert.

RoadClip from the "Endless Love" musical number on tomorrow's episode of Glee.

RoadAn insightful look at the mechanics of large-scale music business marketing by examining the work Mariah Carey is putting behind her current album.

RoadTODAY’S NEW RELEASES:

JanetShe's not the commercial titan she once was, but Janet Jackson’s two-disc Number Ones will remind you what Ms. Jackson’s done for us not only lately but steadily since the ‘80s. The two-disc collection’s new track, "Make Me," is a glorious, and welcome, return to old-school Janet.

He’s been a Grammy-winning pop star, a bluesman, a writer for Esquire, and a celebrity boy toy. With Battle Studies, John Mayer is ready to become the new Sting — a middle-of-the-road artist with chops, hooks and good taste. You think he does yoga?

Much as we love Morrissey’s comeback work since You Are the Quarry, his B-sides are an Anglophile’s wet dream. The latest collection Swords (Deluxe Edition) includes the classic gay-love lament “Christian Dior” and a live take on Bowie’s "Drive-In Saturday."

KrisAllenDown-home American Idol Season 8 victor Kris Allen releases his self-titled debut — a super-catchy mainstream winner — a week before runner-up (and likely chart champ) Adam Lambert rules the world.

Also released: Justin Bieber — My World; Fall Out Boy — Believers Never Die: Greatest Hits; OneRepublic — Waking Up; Paul McCartney — Good Evening New York City (CD/DVD); Katy Perry — Katy Perry: MTV Unplugged (CD/DVD); Them Crooked Vultures — Them Crooked Vultures; David Bowie — Space Oddity (40th Anniversary Edition); Stereophonics — Keep Calm and Carry On (Import); Will Young — The Hits (import).


RoadMUSIC VIDEOS:

Kid Sister: "Right Hand Hi"
This Chi-town rapper — with a long bob of black and blonde hair — surfs a bouncy, grimy groove in this L.A.-based clip. Her debut Ultraviolet, out today, is crammed with hi-NRG smackdowns.

Lights: "Ice"
Canadian synth-popper Valerie Poxleitner’s jaunty lost-love tune — a highlight of her debut The Listening — features a boxing match between the sprightly singer and her darker doppleganger. Who wins? In matters of the heart, it’s always a draw.

David Guetta feat. Estelle: "One Love"
French passion meets Brit cool on Guetta’s thumping dance jam featuring U.K. R&B star Estelle. The clubland compatriots cruise the night city searching for the downtrodden and lovelorn. When they find them, they flash them with a hand gesture — the sign of the heart — that infects them with the urge to hotfoot it like crazy.

Orianthi: "According to You"
She calls herself a “mess in a dress” on this raucous shredder, but Australian guitarist Orianthi is girl power incarnate, fingering that fret-board faster than Eddie Van Halen in his wildest dreams.


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Comments

  1. The Annie album is FIERCE.

    Posted by: Alex | Nov 17, 2009 5:17:44 PM


  2. The new Janet track is good. Not one of her best ever, but still fun. Can't wait for the video or her rumored eight-minute performance opening the American Music Awards.

    Posted by: Donny B | Nov 17, 2009 6:48:22 PM


  3. But what exactly has Janet done lately for the gays to warrant our support?????????

    Had to ask all the Madonna haters that one, sorry!

    Posted by: Marc | Nov 17, 2009 8:09:58 PM


  4. Exactly how are Janet's people spinning the term #1 to warrant two discs? She had possibly the most top five singles off of any single album in the 90's, but #1s not so much. I think the new single, in original form, is about as bad as anything during her time with Jermaine Dupri. Thank heavens the remixes take it where it needs to be for dance play, but forget about Top 40 radio.

    Posted by: Michael | Nov 17, 2009 11:56:54 PM


  5. I wonder if the author know how many copies of his single Adam Lambert sold last week in its debut week. The answer, a dismal 18,000, the track, which is currently a major flop at radio, didn't even rank on the Hot 100. This after his song "Time For Miracles" debuted at a suprisingly low 49,000 copies, and quckly dropped off the face of the earth. That song was also ignored by radio stations. Just for the record, in 3 days, Kris Allen sold 15,000 units of his debut single, which is doing very well at radio, and in ten days he was over 30,000 copies. So far, there has been very little difference in the totals for either Kris or Adam's weekly sales, so I'd hold off on calling Adam the chart champ, espeically given the epic failure of his song at radio. Hype just hasn't equaled radio play, but maybe his performance at the AMA will change things for him.

    Posted by: Cadence | Nov 18, 2009 8:35:50 AM


  6. MICHAEL - Uh, you're a bit off. Two songs in 2001 went #1 (Doesn't Really Matter and All For You)... that is, assuming you are just talking Hot Billboard 100 and not Dance or R&B charts, which she has had a #1 (Feedback) with her last album.

    All For You was #1 for 7 weeks.

    Btw, she had other #1s from her 90s albums: janet. and The Velvet Rope.


    Anyway, the album is for her 33 songs that charted #1 on any of the Billboard charts (Hot 100, Dance, R&B, etc)

    Posted by: gabriel | Nov 18, 2009 9:44:55 AM


  7. Annie's album is amazing. But, what was left off was the song Anthonio, which is available on iTunes. And I suggest anyone get it. It is. Amazing.

    Posted by: JonBenet | Nov 18, 2009 9:56:43 AM


  8. She can finger her fret board all she wants, but i don't need to see it!

    Posted by: clayton | Nov 18, 2009 12:26:31 PM


  9. JonBenet,

    Thanks for the heads up re: Anthonio.

    I just downloaded and it's a shame it was left off the album. I would have traded off one of the weaker tracks like "Loco" for it.

    It's pure Italo-Disco goodness.

    Posted by: Alex | Nov 18, 2009 12:41:26 PM


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